How to Choose a Generator

If you’re in the market for a generator, use the following steps to determine which options are best for you:

Know your reason for purchasing a generator.

Are you looking for a portable generator to use on camping trips or travel? Want a multi-charging power station with solar charging capacity?

Do you experience the occasional power outage and need something to temporarily run your refrigerator so that your food doesn’t spoil?

Or do you experience frequent power outages and need something to run your whole house?

Determine the wattage you need.

Once you’ve established your reason for purchasing a generator, you’ll need to determine how much wattage you need. This is extremely important because if you choose a generator that is too small, you could damage your generator and/or your appliances. And if you choose a generator that is too big, you will spend more than necessary on the generator and the power needed to run it.

To calculate the total wattage you will need to:

  1. Create a list of all of the appliances and lights that you want to power.
  2. Determine the starting (or surge) wattage and running wattage of everything on your list. You should be able to find these numbers on the appliance labels or in the manuals.
  3. Add up the wattage for everything on your list. You should have two numbers: total starting wattage and total running wattage. Your starting wattage will likely be higher than running wattage.

Then, choose a generator that produces more wattage than you need. For example, if your total starting wattage is 24,100 and your running wattage is 18,000, the minimum size you will need is a 25kW generator.

If you are unsure about which size generator to purchase, consult an electrician to discuss your individual needs.

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